Albert Rittenhouse (left) and his brother, November 1952
Recently we received a telephone call from Robert Rittenhouse notifying us of the passing of his brother Albert Rittenhouse, father, husband, and former USS William R Rush Shipmate and Rush Association member. Albert Rittenhouse passed away on Friday, September 7, 2007.
The following eulogy was recently provided by Albert's brother in response to a request by the webmaster:
Albert Bradford Rittenhouse, Jr.
February 3, 1932 - September 7, 2007
Al, as the family knows him, died September 7, 2007, shortly after a diagnosis of prostate cancer. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Diane, five children and fourteen grandchildren. He was predeceased by a son, Ronald.
Albert and I were known onboard the Rush as AB and RA. Al served on the USS William R Rush from March 1952 until December 1952, when he contracted pneumonia. While he was in the Philadelphia Naval Hospital, Rush left for a six month Med cruise. Al served 5 months TAD in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Instead of being returned to Rush upon its return to the States, Al was transferred to USS Weeks (DD 701) in Norfolk, Virginia.
When the Navy resumed round-the-world cuisse, the USS Weeks (DD 701) was one of the first ships chosen. When transiting the Panama Canal on the Weeks, Al got orders to return to the Rush where he served until March 14, 1955. Our enlistment was up on March 10, 1955, but the Rush, short of crew, kept us onboard for the shipís return to Newport, Rhode Island. We arrived on March 13. By noon the next day, we were on our way home, discharged from the Navy.
Looking back, Al lived an interesting life. On graduating boot camp we were shipped to the Ceremonial Guard in Washington, D.C. On arrival, we requested a transfer to sea duty. We were told we had to wait six months before submitting a request. During this time Al met and married his wife Diane, a WAVE who worked at the Bureau of Naval Personnel. In March of 1952 we go orders for duty on the Willie R. After discharge from the Navy, Al got a job with Giles and Ransone as an apprentice diesel heavy equipment mechanic, where he learned his trade.
In 1958 with business slowing down, Al, Diane and three kids, all living in a 40 foot mobile home, decided to move to Dianeís native California. Al sold his car, bought a 3/4 ton truck, extended the cab and cut down the frame to make it a legal towing package in all the states going west. They got as far as Las Vegas where he found work at the Atomic Bomb site. After a few years that job shut down, then it was off to California. Always doing diesel repair, Al found it was tough at first because all the jobs shut-down during the rainy season. For a while it was live high then face unemployment. But Al was lucky and found a steady job on the oil rigs off the California coast. Then the environmentalists showed up and shut down that industry. Being a first-class mechanic, Al landed a full time job at a quarry. But Al was getting on in years now and was facing the bodily ware-and-tear of his profession. So he went to school, earned an Associates degree and became an instructor at the Operating Engineers Union training school. It may seem that Al was always on the move, but all of these jobs lasted from five to ten years each.
In his later years, Al joined his wife in her porcelain doll business, after retirement he went full time casting green-ware, firing parts and traveling to shows selling their product. Competition from the Chinese put an end to all of that. Quilting was gaining as a hobby, so Al and Diane got into that business, doing backing for quilters. But donít think life was all work, Al loved what he was doing. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, and traveling in their motor home. Al was much loved and will be missed by all who knew him.
Mike Dutton, association vice president, commented that Albert was a long standing member of the USS William R. Rush Association, having joined during the very beginings of the association. "He was a good shipmate," Mike stated, "He was also a distant cousin, having the same surname as my mother."
The webmaster would be pleased to make-up a more detailed "In Memoriam" page for this deceased Rushmate. If you have any photographs or information such as a story or other anecdotal information to share about Albert Rittenhouse, please send them by email to the webmaster using this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can not send the information by email, please write to Michael R. Dutton, 1084 Strauss Court, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-6758 and include hardcopy photographs and stories or anecdotes. Any materials sent in this manner will be treated with respect and will be returned to the sender.